Summer Reading for Gifted Boys
Summer Reading for Gifted Boys
PUBLISHED: Thursday, May 22, 2014 by Bethany Johnsen

Summer is around the corner, and although many gifted students can't wait to dive into all the books that their homework hasn't left enough time for, this is not true for all bright children—and far less likely to be the case for boys. Having two little brothers myself, I can testify to the difficulty of getting boys to choose reading over other summertime entertainment. I will never forget my father's surprise when they were less than thrilled by all the books he loved as a kid (e.g., Hardy Boys).

Through trial and error, though, we eventually managed to find titles they enjoyed (with a little expansion of our idea of "reading"—think GRAPHIC NOVELS, people). Now, in hopes of making the summers of some parents out there a little easier, I will share my kid-tested, brother-approved Top 21 Books for Gifted Boys.* I would hate to actually rank these, so they're presented in alphabetic order—but with a special shout out to #6, the book my now 14-year-old brother credits with "making him a reader."

Grades 2–5

1. The Adventures of Captain Underpants (and the many, many others in this series) by Dav Pilkey

2. The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden

3. Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

4. Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl

5. Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl

6. Solomon Snow and the Silver Spoon by Kaye Umansky

7. The Witches by Roald Dahl


Grades 3–7*

8. Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi

9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney

 10. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

11. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

12. Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley

13. Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

14. A Tale Dark and Grimm (and two sequels) by Adam Gidwitz


Grades 5–9

15. The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

16. Cardboard by Doug TenNapel

17. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

18. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

19. The Last Hero: A Discworld Fable by Terry Pratchett

20. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

21. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan


*The Harry Potter books are, of course, catnip for reluctant readers of all ages, genders, and species, but I'm not about to waste a spot on this.